Thursday, April 29, 2010

LCBO Promo - Join us for Bordeaux week

I don’t usually nitpick. And I wouldn’t say I’m the most sophisticated person. Sometimes I’ve been known to cough without covering or saying ’Excuse (x-kooz) Me!’.  Likely when I do nitpick it’s because someone, a Corporate entity usually, doesn’t give me credit for a thimbleful of intelligence. That’s what happened when I perused the latest LCBO Promo, Join us for Bordeaux week.

The introductory paragraph in this fine glossy says “…learning a few simple facts about the region and its grapes. Bordeaux (bore-doe), located in…”  Duhhh! 

I was going to leave it there but my curiosity was piqued. The seven reds and one white interested me. They are from (I believe) eight agencies - no favouritism. All are below $20. All but two are from the General shelves, the two being ‘A Vintages Essential‘. Using WineAlign as a reference tool, the highest rating shown for a wine was 88/100: the lowest was 80/100. Avg 85/100. Using my point definition this would make most Enjoyable with a couple at the Interesting level.

My opinion is that if someone doesn’t know how to pronounce Bordeaux they likely aren’t spending more than $10 on a bottle of wine no matter where it's from. If not going directly to the Fuzion shelf they’re heading for the CICs or shopping at a Boutique.. and Vintages is just foreign territory.

Six of these labels were previously tasted and notes are archived on the dates shown below.  The quality of wines often depend on the year of vintage and all of the following are different than the Promo illustrates. Prices shown are at time of purchase:  
  • De Luze Chateau Bel Air 2004, Bordeaux, France, #665430   $11.05 (Tasted January 10, 2008) Ww81
  • Chateau Pey La Tour Reserve du Chateau 2005, Bordeaux, France, #935859   $22.95 (Tasted January 14,2008) Ww89
  • Chateau Timberlay 2005, Bordeaux, France, #030072   $15.85 (Tasted January 13, 2008) Ww80
  • Chateau Puyfromage 2006, Bordeaux, France, #033605   $15.95 (Tasted October 1, 2008)  Ww81
  • Calvet Chateau Saint-Germain 1999, Bordeaux, France, #152587   $13.95 (Tasted January 02, 2007) Not Recm'd
  • Christian Moueix Merlot 2005, Bordeaux, France, #961227   $15.95 (Tasted September 4, 2009) Ww74
Duhhh!  I won’t be taking advantage of Bordeaux week this time around.
Cheers, Ww

Monday, April 26, 2010

Marcel Deiss Pinot d'Alsace 2004

DOMAINE MARCEL DEISS PINOT D'ALSACE 2004,  85* --  V, Bergheim, Alsace, ( Map It! ) 13.0% D,  #165365  $17.95  (Tasted April 28, 2010)
A Vintages release on April 17, 2010 rated 90 by David Schildknecht  (Feb 2008) and described as “Marcel Deiss 2004 Pinot [d’Alsace] Blanc incorporates a sizeable measure of 'Pinot Beurot' … in addition to a smidgen of Pinot Noir. Aromas of honey, grapefruit zest, wood smoke, and dried yellow plum lead to an intense, resinous, rich, pungently zesty, honeyed, and silken-textured palate and faintly sweet sensation of super-ripe fruit that would put this wine completely beyond the bounds of Pinot Blanc norms were it not for its lip-smacking, juicy, elegant and infectious finish.”  My notes: Bergheim ( View It! ) , a colourful Alsace village with flowers dotted along every roadside and most window sills.  The reviewer's rating gives us an idea of what this wine was in 2008 and he tells much about the winemaker and the intended wine style. This is crystal gold in the glass with a muted scent of fruit pieces cut for a morning breakfast - nothing distinct let alone ‘intense’ but cleanly fragrant. There is a smoothness in the first sip and flavours of mineral water and grapefruit pulp, an interesting touch of sweet and of mild acid. The sip quickly changes with the interest level falling away to a taint of pithy mineral but with some warmth and silkiness. Deserving of the name change this is more of a full bodied Pinot Gris. Makes for a pleasing sipper or pairing with a ham plate or light fish dishes. Not enough there for a grilled salmon plate. Past cellaring. (*followup tasting upped Flavour&Finish)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 2010 Visit to Malivoire: 4 Tasted of 4

I had just dropped off my BH for a gym session -  some like to gyrate, push, stretch their bodies to the extreme. I’m not one. My basic exercise is fingering a keyboard or lifting a wine glass. I now have two hours in which to travel the QEW to the Beamsville exit, make the left at King, another ten minutes and I’m sipping a cool selection of Malivoire wines.  Thank Bacchus there’s a balance in this world. ( Map It! )

If the wines made by Ann Sperling can be called ‘masculine’ it is said that Shiraz Mottiar's, her successor at Malivoire, wines are ‘feminine’. I don’t disagree however this is exposed to unintended side issues. I think along a different perspective. I would call the current Malivoire wines ‘with it’: targeting today’s consumer, featuring the terroir and grape variety, being lighter, cleaner, with disciplined oak when used. Carrying through to the label and the stelvin closure, the packaging is also modern. As a consequence each of the wines match a lifestyle profile of today‘s consumer.  I’d venture to say that most Mottiar wines won’t appeal to the cigar chomping oak magnate accustomed to full-bodied cabs or butterscotch laden chards. The wide Ontario market replete with plonk drinkers may yet wean themselves onto this more sophisticated offering. However, the one inhibitor is price. In the $20 range Malivoire wines so far have retained previous pricing levels which put them in direct competition with value imports. Can they be successful? We‘ll see…. Ww 

Four wines came back for a more leisurely tasting. When tasted wines will be sequenced by Ww rating.
  • Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2009 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 89-1  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #559088 $15.95
  • Malivoire Pinot Gris 2009 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery, $19.95
  • Malivoire Musqué Spritz 2009 VQA Beamsville Bench, 85  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery, $19.95
  • Malivoire Cabernet Franc Icewine 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 87  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery, $0.20* 187mL


MALVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2009 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% D, #Winery  $19.95   (Tasted April 24, 2010)

The winery describes this as “Fruity and fun with fragrances of grapefruit, apple and lime, temperred by a suggest of flintiness. Tangy in the mouth, it reminds you of tangerine, pink grapefruit and lemon with a mineral undertone, leaving a lingering impression of apricot. Its palate is now neither Italian nor French, but carries with it the crisp flavours and aromas of Niagara's stone fruits, and owes much of its charm to the ancient bedrock and minerals of the Escarpment.  My notes: Delicate scent of stone fruit and a light blond colour, no peach hue, with a few bubbles clinging to the glass but not spritzy. Medium-bodied, a touch of sweetness, nicely balanced with acids that match prominent flavours of grapefruit and delicate tangerine. The flavours continue into a long finish. As a sipper , appealing to a social crowd having a softness and delicate fresh fruit with some noticeable sweetness. Pair with a plate of shrimp - no sauce, proscuitto wrapped asparagus or grilled scallops in a creamy sauce. A Niagara PG and a drink now.  86

MALVOIRE MUSQUÉ SPRITZ 2009 VQA Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario, 9.0% D, #Winery  $19.95  (Tasted April 26, 2010)

Described by the winery as “Exotically perfumed, with peach mango, papaya and Anjou pear on the nose. As always, the bright effervescence wakens the mouth to flavours of kiwi, lemon and lime. The finish? Playfully tingly and sweet, as you’d expect!”  My notes: Tangerine and lemon aromatics with a spritz that lays fine bubbles on the glass. This is very clear with a light, almost colourless, blond hue and the first sip surprises with its tang and liveliness on the tongue. Nicely rounded and a finish that carries the tangerine lemon-lime note to a dry end.  More of a social freshener although was OK with a Thai shrimp stir-fry. Compares with SoGrape’s Gazela Vinho Verde (#141432) at $8.95.  Quaff liberally with Oriental dishes or with a creamy shrimp pasta.  85

MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ 2009 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% D,  #559088  $15.95   (Tasted April 27, 2010) CS

Described as “Brilliant coral pink hued, fresh and joyously youthful with intense fruitiness. Strawberry-rhubarb compote and kiwi on the nose. Lingers on the palate with mouth filling red cherry, cantaloupe, peach and banana flavours.  My notesI thought the 2007 Ladybug had ‘lost its identity’ having switched from a straight Pinot Noir to a red blend (Ww79). The 2008 vintage, same blend, had improved altho’ ‘not a sipper more of a meal rosé‘ (Ww85). The 2009 has a bright red cherry colour and a strong fragrance of strawberry but less sweet with possibly a touch of green apple. The first sip is sweet (SC=3?), crushed strawberries that are carried forward to the finish on a balanced seam of acid. A Niagara innovation and a social sipper for a summer afternoon or a refresher over bridge. Pairing would be difficult: perhaps a mildly spiced Thai dish or a bento box of tempura shrimp, sweet potato or broccoli - a tunafish sandwich?? Cellaring for a few years could be interesting - mainly a drink now. I enjoyed it off chill.  89

MALIVOIRE ‘EASTMAN VINEYARD’ CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.0% S, #Winery $0.20* 187mL  (Tasted May 6, 2010)

“When the frost is on the vines and even the starlings seek shelter from the chilly bluster of winter, you can find the hearty and committed friends of Malivoire’s treasured Icewines picking this frosty fruit on the Beamsville Bench. Harvested on the evening of January 20, 2007...”  My notes:  A freebie with the purchase of six wines at Malivoire. A nose of sugary cherry plum and a deep auburn tinged with terracotta makes an interesting overture to sweet sipping. Flavours of cherries with a touch of madeira, very smooth, pleasantly tangy, more sweet than sour, long finish with a softness on the lips. Have for dessert with or without chocolate wafers, rasp- or strawberries and cream. A drink now.  87

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 2010: Pouilly-Fuissé

Three whites from the Mâconnais, a sub region of Burgundy and near the centre of France. Each wine is made from 100% Chardonnay grape and lightly oaked. Why three?  Of the nine found by searching the LCBO website these were the only ones, of the few in stock anywhere, available within a reasonable driving distance. It appears that P-Fs are not a popular item at the LCBO at present.

Pouilly and Fuissé ( Map It! ) are two villages at the heart of the appellation. The vineyards are located where limestone occurs in combination with heavy clays.

Wikipedia says: ‘While Pouilly-Fuissé is the best-known part of Mâconnais, there are no Premier Cru vineyards within the AOC, as the local growers at the time the regulations were being drawn up never applied for this. The AOC was created on 11 September 1936.[1] The area used to be known simply as "Pouilly", but when the AOC laws were introduced, it was split into three: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles.’

Louis Jadot 2002 (#732917 , $34.95) was tasted in September 2005 - it’s about time to revisit this terroir - when it's available.
Cheers, Ww
  • J.J. Vincent & Fils ‘Marie-Antoinette’ Pouilly-Fuissé Chardonnay 2006,  92-2  --  V, Burgundy, France, #525113 $27.95
  • Jaffelin Pouilly-Fuissé 2007,  81  --  G, Burgundy, France, #242909 $25.95 
  • Bouchard Père & Fils Pouilly-Fuissé 2007,  80  --  G, Burgundy, France, #056580 $27.85


BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS  POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2007, Burgundy, ( Map It! ) France, 13.5% XD, #056580  $27.85 (Tasted April 13, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale straw colour; light nutty, citrus, flinty/mineral, green apple, delicate floral nose with yeasty notes; dry, medium bodied, with fresh fruit, vanilla and melon flavours with a long, crisp finish. Serve with shellfish, chicken or pasta in cream sauce.”  My notes: A crystal clear blond needing to go off chill before releasing a slight honeysuckle aroma. On a swirl a thin film recedes with scalloped edges and the first sip gives an impression of green apples, tart but not acerbic, with a light roundness. The finish is long, dry, ending with a touch of straw and chalk. Not much interest as a sipper. The acids were adequate but flavours faded when paired with grilled Atlantic salmon, green beans and sweet potato - better with white fish entrées. A drink now.  80

J.J. VINCENT & FILS ‘MARIE-ANTOINETTE’ POUILLY-FUISSÉ CHARDONNAY 2006, Burgundy, ( Map It! ) France, 13.0% XD, #525113  $27.95  (Tasted April 12, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on March 20, 2010 rated 90/100 and described by Josh Reynolds (March 2008) as “Green-gold. Strikingly pungent bouquet suggests ripe pear, nectarine, iodine and smoky minerals. The smokiness carries onto the palate, which offers deep orchard and pit fruit flavors, chewy texture and a long, sappy finish. This is sourced from Vergisson fruit and went through a full malolactic fermentation, but is in no way fat.”  My notes:The vineyards of Vergisson have a high mineral level. The colour on pouring is a glistening pale yellow and the nose has a delicate floral scent if allowed to develop in the bowl. On a swirl there’s a slowly receding even film and the first sip cleanses throughout while subtle pear, citrus and stone fruit  fill the palate. The finish is long, penetrating, a tang mixed with remnants of stone fruit. XD as well as texture and flavours pair with a creamy scallop or chicken pasta. Should cellar well.  92

JAFFELIN POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2007, Burgundy,( Map It! ) France, 13.0% XD #242909  $25.95  (Tasted April 19, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale straw colour; aromas of pears, golden delicious apples on the nose with a mineral note; dry, light-to-medium bodied, with delicate floral, citrus flavours with good acidity and a crisp, clean finish. Serve with seafood dishes, appetizers or cream sauce pastas.”  My notes: Pale gold in the glass with aromas of pear, citrus and dampened limestone: an evenly scalloped thin film with few tears: a strong acid presence accompanying a mineral tang on flavours of crushed lemon seeds and a slight, unripe gooseberry. The finish is at first succulent changing to a lasting lemon seed. Suitable for creamy fish dishes, bruschetta or oysters Rockefeller - perhaps cheesy nachos. Went nicely with rosemary’d Rock Cornish hens. Not a sipper.  81

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April 2010 Wines: 23 of 23

Homeward bound...11'65
When tasted, wines will be sequenced by rating, reds then whites, rosés then sparklers followed by Icewines and Late Harvests.  Cheers, Ww

ps. The Label shown is the best since 'VQA' and a boon to Ontario consumers. Look for it the next time you're shopping for an Ontario wine. I'll drink to that!! It's now June 14, 2011 and no sign of this label. A sign of Niagara being complacent or ?
  • Rosenvale Estate Grenache 2005, 94-3  --  V, Barossa Valley, Australia, #059881 $21.95
  • Manzone Dolcetto D’Alba ‘La Serra’ 2001,  93-3  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #715680 $16.95 
  • Vista Touriga Nacional Berias Red 2004,  92-3  --  G, Portugal, #613919 $13.20
  • Clos de los Siète 2005,  92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #622571 $23.95
  • Irony Cabernet Sauvignon 2005,  92-2  --  V, Napa Valley, USA, #025106 $19.95 
  • Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2008,  91-2  --   V, Rhône, France, #998716 $15.00
  • J.P. Chenet Premier de Cuvée Merlot Cabernet 2007,  90-2  --  G, Languedoc, France, #621995 $11.95
  • Casa Nueva Carmenère 2003,  90-2  --  O, Molina, Chile, CP152-2746 $13.08
  • Domaine Grand Veneur ‘Les Champauvins’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2007,  90-1  --  V, Rhône, France, #076331 $19.95   
  • Zenato Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa 2006, 90-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy #479766 $24.95
  • William Hill Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1981, 90-1   - O, Napa Valley, USA, #Winery,  $0* 
  • Louis Mousset Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1999, 87   - O, Rhone, France, #Opimian,  $?
  • Malivoire Old Vines Foch 2002 (Canadian Oak) VQA Ontario,  86  --  O, Beamsville, Canada, #Winery $25.00 
  • Malivoire Red 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 82  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #141523 $14.95 

  • Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2007,  93-3  --  V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #045138 $13.95
  • Conundrum 2006,  93-2  --  V, Rutherford, USA, #694653 $26.95
  • Trius Riesling VQA Niagara Peninsula 2008,  90-2  --  G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #303792 $13.25* 
  • Lailey Vidal 2008 VQA Ontario, 88-2  --  O, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #Winery $12.20  
  • Domaine des Aspes Viognier 2008, 88-1  --  V,  Languedoc, France, #712638 $14.95
  • McManis Family Vineyards Viognier 2007, 87  --  O, San Joaquin Valley, California, #658112 $21.95
  • Trius Unoaked Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2008,  86  -- G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #497248 $14.25

  • Konzelmann Estate Winery ‘Methode Cuvee Close’ Sparkling Wine NV VQA Ontario,  88-1  --  G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #031401 $14.95

  • Cave Spring ‘Indian Summer’ Select Late Harvest  Riesling 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 91  --  V, Niagara, Ontario, #415901  $24.95 (375mL)
 (G - General Listing, V - Vintages, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value)


CAVE SPRING (Map It!) ‘INDIAN SUMMER’ SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara, Ontario, 13.0%  MS, #415901 $24.95 375mL  (Tasted April 29, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on October 10, 2009 described anonymously (undated) as “… a rich wine with layered aromas of mango, pear, caramel apples and cinnamon. A delightful alternative to Icewine, serve this medium-sweet, well-balanced wine with pâté, lemon tarts or apple cake.”  My notes:The nose dissipated quickly but not before leaving pineapple and caramel scents. A 24-carat gold colour with a firm film that recedes slowly giving an indication of its silky fullness. A smooth combination of sweet and sour, in a tangy sense, makes this lip-smacking  unctuous. The flavour is of mango, pear and lemon drop all leading into a long flavourful finish. Sipping by itself or with ladyfingers or biscuit straws would be satisfying - perhaps as an after dinner treat with milk or white chocolate buds.  Cellaring longer isn’t a problem either.  91

LOUIS MOUSSET CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE 1999, (Map It!) France, 13.5% D, #Opimian  $?  (Tasted  April 18, 2010)

My notes:  Having travelled across Canada twice this red didn’t have high expectations. On a swirl there’s an evenly scalloped edge to a thin film and quickly changing aromas of leather, walnut and flint. The colour is ruby tinged with mahogany and flavours of red cherry simmered in tawny port with a touch of iodine added. Fine tannins and bone dry acid meld nicely with cherry pits for a long woody finish. A unique sipper without prominent fruit although with a lot of flavour.  Have with prime rib or a beef consommé, a beef bourguignon with leeks and gravy’d mashed.  87

ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU 2008, Rhone, France, 14.0% XD, #998716 $15.00 (Tasted April 16, 2010) CS

 My notes: The 2008 was last tasted (90) in January this year, the 2007 in December 2008 (92) and the 2006 (90) in June 2008 with consistent results.  Now a toonie less this blend shows a delicate, spicy scent of sweet black berries. The colour is an opaque ruby staining the glass on a swirl that leaves an evenly scalloped edge. The first sip is bright on the palate with a full flavour of black berries, a nippy spice and a long finish of same. Not process driven this is a fruity sipper showing mostly the Grenache and Syrah with Mourvèdre providing a velvet backdrop. Cellaring potential is high. Have with T-bone or a pepper steak.  91

WILLIAM HILL (Map It!) MT. VEEDER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1981, Napa Valley, USA, 13.4% XD, #Winery,  $0* (Tasted April 25, 2010) 
My notes: Cellared in 1981 after an Opimian Napa wine tour during which this bottle was received as a prize. Decanting and airing an hour benefits this aged red. There is a slight terracotta hue to a cherry skin colour and the nose has an alluring scent of a spicy berry compote. A swirl leaves a firm film with a few slow tears and the first sip is an interesting mix of berries and thyme spice, medium-bodied with a moderate acid seam. Not a new world fruit bomb but with a long smooth, dry, balance of spice and fruit giving this an interesting finish. Sip or have with beefy pastas, steaks, prime rib or grilled ribs. Not going anywhere at this point with further cellaring.  90
ANAKENA (Map It!) SINGLE VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2007, Rapel Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #045138 $13.95 (Tasted April 2, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in September 2008 with a rating of 90. A nose of papaya and field flowers nicely tinged with honey and the colour is a blond gold, crystal clear in the glass. I also used this as the white in a red blending ‘game’ blogged in September 2008 with good result. The flavour of grapefruit, grassy papaya and light lemon has a pleasing roundness making this a full-bodied sipper.  Texture and flavours carry well into a very long finish. Paired with salmon cakes it refreshed giving the buds a change and would pair well with most lightly seasoned seafood, fowl or have with fresh oysters or bacon wrapped scallops. This has cellared well and has lots left for another few years.  93

LAILEY (Map It!)VIDAL 2008 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 11.5% D, #Winery $12.20 (Tasted April 4, 2010)

My notes: Purchased from the winery in April last year, tasted with a 92 then in January this year with an 83. First bottle, fresh and full of fruit: second bottle, much drier and full of spritz - active yeast had finished the natural sugars. This bottle, as well, is full of bubbles on first pouring with the carbonation continuing to the long finish. The colour is a light blond and the nose is a subtle green apple. The first sip has green apple with just a suspicion of sweetness and delicately round. A social sipper with a dryness suited to fresh oysters or crab cakes. Was a tad light with mixed Chinese plate of lemon chicken, noodles, white rice and beef strips in a black bean sauce. A drink now.  88   
MALIVOIRE (Map It!) RED 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #141523 $14.95 (Tasted April 11, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in October 2009 and rated 90. A Niagara blend of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Gamay gives this a mid cherry colour and a floral nose edged with cherry taffy - no spice. Initially appealing as a sipper but shows less depth and a lighter texture than previously. Finishes with fine tannins, a nice acid seam and a long cherry finish. Was too light for rack of lamb - perhaps better with ham, pork tenderloin & apple sauce or just sip on a warm afternoon. Cellaring may develop some remaining youthful fruit however may also fade out of sight. Loses its points for potential.  82
VISTA TOURIGA NACIONAL BERIAS RED 2004, Portugal, 14.0% D, #613919 $13.20* (Tasted April 12, 2010) CS
My notes: This vintage has steadily improved from cellaring in July 2007 -  in July 2008 an 84 then in July last year a 94. Some of the blueberry, black cherry fruit has gone but is replaced with mahogany notes, deep velvet textures, spicy tang and luxuriant berries. Fine tannins line the palate either for a slow sipping or for complementing prime rib or seasoned steak tartare. Full-bodied old world, the colour of royal robes and a delicate scent, still needing time to develop, of warm blackberry and cherry. Still has some time to go. Originally discounted to $10.20 it’s not likely to be repeated.  92

ROSENVALE ESTATE (Map It!) GRENACHE 2005, Barossa Valley, Australia, 15.5% D, #059881 $21.95 (Tasted April 8, 2010) CS
My notes: Laid down in April 2008 after tasting and rating a 96. Part of the ‘Blending Game’ in September 2009 with the same rating and I’d expect another few years cellaring potential. Less smooth, less fruit and brighter after a year this now has a light berry compote nose and a colour that’s a sombre ruby. A swirl gives a thin scalloped film with a few fast tears. Black cherry and black berry flavours blend nicely retaining a natural fruit tang and some sugar, altho’ definitely not sweet. The long finish shows some mint to brighten and fine tannins to smooth over the palate ending warm with an earthy fruit. Pair with prime rib, rack of lamb or venison… or just sip. 94

CASA NUEVA (Map It!) CARMENÈRE 2003, Molina, Chile, 13.5% XD, CP152-2746 $13.08 (Tasted April 20, 2010)
My notes: Cellared in October 2004 and last tasted in March 2009 with a rating of 88 and a recommendation to open an hour prior to serving. Still ruby coloured with a violet hue, opaque to view with a strong earthy nose delaying scents of prunes and bright anise. Full-bodied with rich flavours of black fruit, dark chocolate, cinnamon, smooth on the palate with an imbedded spiciness. This continues to show longevity now having deep silky textures, almost oily, during a long liquorice edged finish. It may come across as ‘musty’ if not aired so isn‘t everyone‘s sipper - especially if rushed. Should be great with grilled meats, ribs, or rich tomato pastas. Started out as ‘new world meeting old’ is now fully ‘old’.  90  
ZENATO (Map It!) VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSA 2006, Veneto, Italy 13.5% D, #479766 $24.95 (Tasted April 6, 2010) CS
My notes: The 2005 was tasted in March 2008 and rated 87: “has a nicely balanced nip with a light cherry flavour…“. The 2006 was first tasted in June 2008 noting: “has a deeper colour of black cherries… strongly flavoured, smooth as chocolate…“ and rated 92 but in April 2009 dropped back to 87. Now in 2010 the colour is a rich, deep ruby and the aroma is an earthy black cherry leaving a heavy film and many slow tears. Smooth, a well established nip ending with earthy cherry, some blackberry, tobacco, drying tannins and full in the mouth. There’s no ignoring this as a sipper and its complement to a grilled filet or T-bone wouldn’t be mistaken. Cellaring a few more years could intensify the ripasso effect if that’s your style.  90


MALIVOIRE (Map It!) OLD VINES FOCH 2002 (Canadian Oak) VQA ONTARIO, Beamsville, Canada, 12.5%, XD #Winery $25.00 (Tasted April 6, 2010)
My notes:  The 1999 was cellared in July 2001, later tasted in May 2005 noting ‘has a distinct ‘fochiness’. In May 2006 it was ’approachable’ with ‘no need to let breathe’. The 2002 was cellared in 2003 and tasted several times the last rated 87 in April 2008 with ’a nose of crushed hazelnuts and ripe smoky berries’. This now is an opaque rich ruby leaving a thick scalloped edge with fast tears and a nose of faint ripe berries - negligible hazelnuts. The first sip is smooth with a steely bite and light flavours of berries then a long finish mostly of clean, bright berries. OK as a sipper but would be better with prime rib, beef Wellington. At the end of cellaring and the last bottle. 86
J.P. CHENET (Map It!) PREMIER DE CUVÉE MERLOT - CABERNET 2007, Languedoc, France, 14.0% D, #621995 $11.95 (Tasted April 26, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in October 2009 with a rating of 89. Definitely the label to look for is the 2007 vintage with the Orange sticker of a Gold medal from Concours National Des Vins de Pays 2008. A pleasing ruby with a sombre tint and aromas of bright raspberry softened by blackberries. Let air a short while, twenty minutes, for a full-bodied, silky smooth, oozing with luscious spicy berries sipper. After three years cellaring this is a solid value. Full flavoured black fruit is carried through a long finish along with fine tannins ending dry with a bit of chalky mineral. Have with anything grilled: sausage, steaks or lamb. Cellaring for another few years is likely.  90 


IRONY (Map It!)  CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005, Napa Valley, USA, 14.5% D, #025106 $19.95 (Tasted April 26, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in December 2009 with a rating of 94. A short time and still a rich ruby in colour, full-bodied, nicely tart, with fine tannins and very dry on the palate. The nose has softened a tad to a infused berry and damp earth. For flavours there’s the brightness of fresh blackberries and some black currants in the background. These develop into a luscious layer leading to a long, dry finish - a bit metallic if too long between sips. A gulper of a red when suitably paired with any grilled savoury beef, saucy pepper steak or bbq’d ribs. Cellaring for two perhaps four years would be OK.  92
CLOS DE LOS SIÈTE (Map It!) 2005, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5% XD, #622571 $23.95 (Tasted April 17, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in April 2008 and rated 91. A blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet this is an opaque ruby with a grey cast and has lazy aromas of flint, plum and black cherry. Lots of slow legs from a swirl and the first sip is smooth, has a delayed tang and flavours of liquorice, black fruit and fine tannins paving the palate for a long velvet ending. Less fruit but full-bodied with spicy flavours that evolve as they fill the mouth and as they air in the glass. Pair with anything savoury and saucy. Still a few years cellaring left in this vintage. 92

MANZONE (Map It!) DOLCETTO D'ALBA 'LA SERRA' 2001, Piedmont, Italy, 13.0% XD, #715680*  $16.95 (Tasted April 22, 2010) CS
My notes: *No longer listed. Highly rated by James Suckling (90/100) and recommended by Beppi Crosariol following a Vintages release on July 26, 2003. I last tasted in November 2006 before Ww ratings. The bottle has thrown some dregs so decanting, and airing, is recommended. The nose is of pleasingly perfumed mahogany. A firm film with slow tears preludes a full-bodied first sip with a dryness and smooth texture that last through a long flavourful finish. There’s a taste of bold berries edged with mild spice that gives this an overall appeal as a silky sipper but more-so as a companion to a grilled pepper steak, a beefy pasta dish or grilled hamburger. Cellaring for another few years should be OK but not likely to improve it further.  Amazing longevity showing.  93
DOMAINE GRAND VENEUR (Map It!) ‘LES CHAMPAUVINS’ CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2007, Rhône, France, 15.0% XD, #076331 $19.95 (Tasted April 28, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in December 2009 and rated 92. The purple tint is still present and ‘floral aromas mixed with cherries and plums’ as well. Only a short while but this red has been somewhat of a chameleon, light and subdued then bright and cheerful depending on the meal. ‘Medium-bodied, silky with earthy flavours…. balanced finish declining dryly on the earthy side’. Not a new world fruit bomb… a sedate old world charmer instead. An approachable sipper and dependable meal red to pair with any grilled meats: steaks, prime rib or rak of lamb - not curried fare though 8-). Two to five year should be OK.   90
DOMAINE DES ASPES VIOGNIER 2008, Languedoc, France, (Map It!) 13.50% D, #712638 $14.95 (Tasted April 7, 2010) CS

My notes:Last tasted in September 2009 with a 92 rating. A soft golden in the glass with aromas of wildflowers and honey inviting the first sip. A soft touch followed by a strong acid seam and flavours of stone fruit, lime and pear finishing dry to the lips. XD to cleanse the palate and lasts long with a tangy pithy ending. Last September’s ’creamy mouthfeel’ is almost gone giving way to tang and less developed fruit. Have with fresh oysters or crab cakes, spicy seafood pastas to a cloved ham steak. Too acerbic as a social sipper but could be an interesting white sipper for the venturous. 88  
KONZELMANN WINERY ESTATE (Map It!) ‘METHODE CUVÉE CLOSE’ SPARKLING WINE NV VQA Ontario,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 12.5% D, #031401 $14.95  (Tasted April 22, 2010) CS*
My notes: (*No longer listed) Cellared November 2007 (Ww89) and last tasted in September 2009 (Ww89). 100% Riesling with a refreshing spritz after a deluge of all sizes of bubbles. Gold in the glass and dry,  although not 'as a bone', lightly flavoured with macadamia on top of moderate lemon. The tang along with the spritz gives this a good bounce for a social crowd.  OK with fresh oysters, with a summer buffet or with smoked salmon or arctic char on greens. Cellaring may have lessened the original pear and apple nuances substituting these for some texture. If this continues toward a Brut there’s a few more years left to cellar. 88

CONUNDRUM 2006, Rutherford, USA, (Map It!) 13.5% D, #694653 $26.95 (Tasted April 5, 2010) CS
My notes: Tasted in July of 2008 and now a milder version of “a delicate medley of melon, pears and wildflower aromas” but equal to “saturated flavours of tropical fruit hanging heavy, both unctuous and delectable…”. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat such that each brings something to the table without overriding the others. This has cellared well seemingly fuller now and another two years shouldn’t hurt. Just sip or pair with tuna, swordfish or a shellfish bouillibaise. The finish is long, smooth yet clean and tangy. 93

McMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS VIOGNIER 2007, San Joaquin Valley, California, (Map It!) 13.5% D, #658112, $21.95 (Tasted April 11, 2010) CS
My notes: Tasted after purchasing from The Vine/robert groh agency in November last year and rated 89/100. The golden colour is still vivid and the film reveals a medium-bodied viscosity. A delicate floral is now difficult to identify until slightly off chill, then a slight apple blossom. The stone fruit and apple flavours are there but muted and the previous melon has left. There’s a roundness combined with a tangy finish that makes this an interesting sipper as well as the buttery texture paired with bacon wrapped scallops or lightly curried green lipped mussels. A drink now. 87   

TRIUS RIESLING VQA Niagara Peninsula 2008, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, (Map It!) 11.0% D, #303792  $13.25*  (Tasted April 17, 2010) CS
A Hillebrand wine (Andres Wines) and a General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale straw colour; floral, mineral/lime aromas with grassy, citrus overtones; Dry, crisp with lemon and apple/pear flavours; light-bodied with a crisp acidity and zesty finish. Serve with creamy cheeses; light fish dishes; shellfish; stir fries.”  My notes: *Discounted from a regular price of $14.25. I swear there’s a greenish tint to the blond colour. A slight melon and floral scent takes time to develop in the bowl - give it ten minutes for a delicate floral to come through. A sip brings the crisp acidity of bone dry lemon and white grapefruit flavours, improves off chill slightly. The finish is long, bone dry, and light. Excellent with bacon wrapped scallops or stuffed mushroom caps leading into a grilled fishplate or mixed seafood platter. Cellaring may be worthwhile to see if some oils come forward - but don‘t think so.   90
TRIUS UNOAKED CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Peninsula 2008, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, (Map It!) 13.0% D, #497248 $14.25  (Tasted April 16, 2010) CS

A Hillebrand Wine (Andres Wines) and a General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Bright medium lemon yellow, with lemon/gold highlights; clean, forward aromas of ripe melon and toasted nuts, with a buttery dairy note underlying; dry with medium acidity, nutty and spicy oak notes on a medium length finish. Serve with fish chowder; pasta in cream sauce.”   My notes: This is a muted lemon yellow with a light floral and mineral scent and slowly forms tears on the bowl. The smoothness of the first sip and the delicate nature of the flavours invites a second sip, then there's a grassy Granny Smith apple with a tinge of macadamia finishing warm and dry. An interesting taste profile with excellent body and texture makes for a social sipper. ABC imbibers could accept this altho’ fruit is likely not as pronounced as in their preferred whites. Pair with grilled scallop and veggie kebobs, shrimp appetizers or grilled halibut. A drink now.  86